It’s been 125 years

 In 1886 crofters thought their position was, for once, secure. That was all to change in 2015/16 when the Crofting Commission decided to apply the law in weird and draconian ways.

Writing in The Scotsman (Is dogma digging a hole for crofting?), Brian Wilson, pointed out that:-

One thing crofting has in plenty is legislation. The Crofting Commission attributes its recent rulings to the requirements of the 1993 Crofting Act, although nobody has sought to enforce them in the intervening 23 years. “Why now and so destructively?” asks the Scottish Crofting Federation.

Reference to this 23 year period is an easy mistake for people to make when they see reference to the 1993 Act. However, the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993 was a consolidating Act. It didn’t actually introduce new crofting law but simply gathered in one place all the various pieces of crofting legislation that had come into being from and after the first Act of 1886 (the Crofters Holdings (Scotland) Act 1886).

The provisions in the 1993 Act concerning Common Grazings actually have their origins in the Crofters Common Grazings Regulation Act 1891 and the Crofters Common Grazings Regulation Act 1908. Thus, these provisions have actually been around for well over 100 years.

This makes it all the more astounding that the Crofting Commission are using the legislation in the way that they are today when there is no evidence it has ever been used in that way since its inception at the turn of the last century and towards the end of the century before that.

Brian Inkster

Research Credit: I am indebted to Derek Flyn for researching, at my request, the history and origins of the legislation involved.

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